Girish Mahajan

Emperor Sujin

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Predecessor  Kaika
Died  29 BC
Children  Emperor Suinin
Grandchild  Yamatohime-no-mikoto
Successor  Suinin
Parents  Emperor Kaika
Royal line  Imperial House of Japan
Emperor Sujin httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Reign  98 BC – 30 BC (traditional)
Burial  Yamanobe no michi no Magari no oka no e no misasagi (Nara)
Similar  Emperor Suinin, Emperor Kaika, Emperor Keikō, Emperor Jimmu, Emperor Kōgen

Emperor Sujin (崇神天皇, Sujin-tennō), also known as Mimakiiribikoinie no Sumeramikoto (御間城入彦五十瓊殖天皇) or Hatsukunishirasu Sumeramikoto (御肇國天皇); was the tenth emperor of Japan.


The legendary emperor's reign is conventionally assigned the years of reign 97 BC – 30 BC, but he may have lived in the early 1st century, or the third or fourth century.

Sujin's grave site has not been identified (and may not exist), however, Andonyama kofun in Tenri, Nara has been designated by the Imperial Household Agency as the kofun (tumulus). It is formally named Yamanobe no michi no Magari no oka no e no misasagi.

Sujin is responsible for setting up the Ise Shrine or the Saikū associated with it to enshrine Amaterasu. He is also credited with initiating the worship of Ōmononushi (equated with the deity of Mount Miwa). He also confiscated certain sacred treasures that had been passed down the line in Izumo. The emperor may have been the first to perform a census and establish and regularize a system of taxation.

Legendary narrative

Modern scholars have come to question the existence of at least the first nine emperors (cf. List of Emperors of Japan); and Sujin is the first many agree might have actually existed, in the third or fourth centuries.

Sujin is regarded by historians as a "legendary emperor" and the paucity of material information about him makes difficult any further verification and study. The reign of Emperor Kinmei (c. 509 – 571 AD), the 29th emperor, is the first for which contemporary historiography is able to assign verifiable dates; however, the conventionally accepted names and dates of the early emperors were not to be confirmed as "traditional" until the reign of Emperor Kanmu (737–806), the 50th sovereign of the Yamato dynasty.

Sujin-tennō is a Posthumous name assigned by later generations, possibly ascribed during the compilation of the Kojiki.

Kiki records

According to the pseudo-historical Kojiki and Nihonshoki (collectively known as Kiki (Japanese chronicles)), Sujin was the second son of Emperor Kaika Sujin's mother was Ikagashikome no Mikoto, a stepmother of his father.

He acceded to the throne purportedly in 97 B.C. On the third year of his reign, he removed the capital to Shiki (磯城), naming it the Palace of Midzu-gaki, or Mizugaki-no-miya (瑞籬宮) (vicinity of Kanaya (金屋), Sakurai, Nara).

The Kujiki records the legendary appointment of 137 governors for the provinces ruled by Emperor Sujin.

Enshrining Ōmononushi (Miwa Myōjin)

Pestilence struck the 5th year of his rule, and half the populace died. By the 6th year, peasants abandoning fields and rebellion became rampant.

Up to this time, both the sun goddess Amaterasu and the god Yamato-ōkunitama were enshrined in imperial residence. The emperor, over-awed with having to cohabit with these two powerful deities, set up separate enshrinements to house them. Amaterasu was moved to Kasanui village (笠縫邑) in Yamato Province (Nara), and there built as Himorogi altar (place for deities to make their descent) out of solid stone, placing a daughter, the princess Toyo-suki-iri-bime (豊鍬入姫命) in charge. The other god was entrusted to another daughter named Nunaki-iri-bime (渟名城入媛命) but her hair fell out and became emaciated so she could not perform her duties.

In the 7th year, the Emperor decreed a divination to be performed, and so he made a trip to the plain of Kami-asaji or Kamu-asaji-ga-hara (神浅茅原), and invoked the eighty myriad deities. Yamato-to-to-hi-momoso-hime (倭迹迹日百襲姫命) (daughter of 7th emperor Emperor Kōrei and identified as the emperor's aunt on the father's side) acting as sibyl became possessed by a god, who identified himself as Ōmononushi and said that the land will be pacified if he were to be venerated. The emperor complied, but there was no immediatate change for the better. The emperor was later given guidance in a dream to seek out a certain Ōtataneko (太田田根子) and appoint him as head priest. Eventually, the pestilence subsided, the land was calmed, and the five cereal crops ripened. The Miwa sept of the Kamo clan claim descent from this Ōtataneko personage.

The emperor also appointed Ikagashikoo (伊香色雄), ancestor of the Mononobe clan and elder brother of the empress as kami-no-mono-akatsu-hito (神班物者), i.e., one who sorts the offerings to the gods. Other gods were vernerated as dictated by divinations, and eight red shields and spears were offered to Sumisaka Shrine (墨坂) in the east, and eight black shields and spears were offered to Ōsaka Shrine (大坂) in the west.

Installation of four generals and insurrection

In his 10th year of rule, Sujin instituted the Generals to the Four Cardinal Quarters (Shidō shogun), instructing them to quell those who would not submit to their rule.

General Ōhiko (大彦命), who had been sent up north, was at the top of the Wani acclivity, when a certain maiden approached him and sang him a cryptic song, and disappeared. The emperor's aunt, Yamato-to-to-hi-momoso-hime was also skilled at clairvoyancy and interpreted this to mean that Take-hani-yasu-hiko (a prince of Emperor Kōgen) was plotting an insurrection. She pieced it together from the news she heard that the prince's wife Ata-bime came to Mount Amanokaguya and took a clump of earth in the corner of her neckerchief. Just as the Emperor gathered his generals in meeting, the couple had mustered troops to the west and was ready to attack the capital. The emperor sent an army under Isaseri-hiko no Mikoto, which crushed the rebel forces, and Ata-bime too was slain.

Subsequently, Hiko-kuni-fuku (彦国葺命) was sent to Yamashiro Province to punish the rebel prince, and in an exchange of bowshots, the rebel prince Take-hani-yasu-hiko was struck in the chest and died.

Census and tax system

In the 12th year of his rule, he decreed a census be taken of the populace, "with grades of seniority, and the order of forced labour". The taxes, imposed in the form of mandatory labor, were called yuhazu no mitsugi (弭調, "bow-end tax") for men and tanasue no mitsugi (手末調, "finger-end tax") for women. Peace and prosperity ensued. The emperor received the title Hatsu kuni shirasu sumeramikoto (御肇国天皇, "The Emperor, the august founder of the country").

In the 48th year (50 B.C.), Sujin summoned two sons and told him he loved them equally and could not make up his mind which to make his heir, bidding them describe the dreams they had, so he may divine their lot by interpreting their dreams. The elder named Toyoki (豊城命) dreamt of climbing Mt. Mimoro (Mount Miwa), and facing east, thrusting the spear eight times and waving the sword eight times skywards. The younger prince Ikume (活目命) dreamt of climbing Mimoro and spanning ropes on four sides, chasing the sparrows that ate the millet. Accordingly, the younger Ikume was designated Crown prince, and the elder Toyoki was chosen to govern the east. He became the ancestor of Kamitsuke and Shimotsuke clans.

Divine treasures

In the 60th year (38 B.C.), Sujin told his ministers he wanted to look at divine treasures brought from the heavens by Takehinateru which were housed in Izumo Shrine. Izumo Furune (出雲振根) was the keeper of the treasures, but since he was away on business in Tsukushi province, his younger brother Izumo Iiirine (出雲飯入根) accommodated the imperial edict on his behalf, and sent two younger brothers as carriers of these treasures to show the emperor. When Furune returned, he was inconsolably angered for having parted with the treasures, and slew him with the sword-swapping intrigue (after inviting his brother to wade in a pool (named Yamuya), he exchanged his own wooden sword with his brother's real sword and commenced battle).

The court received report of this, and dispatched Takenunakawawake (武渟川別) (General of the East) Kibitsuhiko (吉備津彦命) (general of the West) to slay Izumo Furune.

Manmade ponds

Both Kojiki and Nihon shoki records indicate that Sujin encouraged the building of artificial ponds and canals. In October of his 62nd year of reign, Yosami pond (依網池) (said to have been near Ōyosami Shrine in Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka or slightly south in Sakai, Osaka, the Ikeuchi area) was built. He is also credited with Sakaori pond (酒折池) (in Karu, located in Kashihara, Nara)

Consorts and children

Empress: Mimakihime (御間城姫), daughter of Oohiko (大彦命)

  • Prince Ikumeirihikoisachi (活目入彦五十狭茅尊) (Emperor Suinin)
  • Prince Hikoisachi (彦五十狭茅命)
  • Princess Kunikatahime (国方姫命)
  • Princess Chichitsukuyamatohime (千千衝倭姫命)
  • Prince Yamatohiko (倭彦命)
  • Princess Ikahime (伊賀比売命)
  • Tootsuayumemaguwashihime (遠津年魚眼眼妙媛), daughter of Kii no Arakahatobe (荒河戸畔)

  • Prince Toyokiirihiko (豊城入彦命), ancestor of Keno Clan (毛野君)
  • Princess Toyosukiirihime or Toyo-suki-iri-bime (豊鍬入姫命) First Saiō
  • Owari no Ooamahime (尾張大海媛)

  • Prince Ooiriki (大入杵命), ancestor of Noto no kuni no Miyatsuko (能登国造)
  • Prince Yasakairihiko (八坂入彦命)
  • Princess Nunakiirihime or Nunaki-iri-bime (渟名城入媛命)
  • Princess Toochiniirihime (十市瓊入媛命)
  • References

    Emperor Sujin Wikipedia

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